Safe Exercise during Pregnancy

Exercising during pregnancy is important to help reduce muscle pain, maintain fitness, improve mood, weight control, preparation for the physical demands of labour and many more. With so many exercise options, and opinions out there, it can be hard to know where to start once falling pregnant.

Before undertaking any exercise program during pregnancy, it is important to discuss this with your doctor or physiotherapist who can help guide you to some appropriate activities that are suitable for your needs. If you have been an active person prior to falling pregnant, in most cases you can remain active provided that you are not experiencing any complications or new aches and pains. If you were not previously engaged in any physical activity prior to your pregnancy, this probably isn’t the time to begin training for a marathon. However, if you’ve discussed your needs with a healthcare professional, commencing some moderate exercise can be a great place to start.

Using your heart rate to monitor your exercise intensity is not recommended during pregnancy due to the increase in resting heart rate. This is a normal part of the pregnancy period. One was to measure your intensity is “rate of perceived exertion”, or a scale of 1-10 on how hard you feel like you’re working out. A good guide can be that you can engage in conversation during your exercise, but not so easy that you feel like you could sing!

Some exercise options during pregnancy include but not limited to:

  • walking
  • swimming
  • cycling on a stationary bike
  • yoga
  • water aerobics
  • Clinical Pilates
  • pregnancy-specific exercise classes

Some considerations to take into account when engaging in any exercise program include:

  • avoid raising your body temperature too high
  • avoid over-stretching
  • take care not to perform exercises that increases your intra-abdominal pressure (heavy weight lifting, abs exercises like crunches or planks
  • avoid contact sports
  • supine exercise positions (lying on your back) for extended periods of time

Prior to commencing any exercise program during pregnancy, or if you are unsure of suitable exercise options, speak to your doctor, physiotherapist or healthcare professional for their input.

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